Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Homeschooler's Best Friend

There is one thing I hands down can't live without as a homeschool parent. It saves my budget. It gives my kids a place to play. It provides more supplements to my curriculum than I could even begin to come up with on my own. In fact, I depend on it so much that we've built a small one in our home. Confused yet?

My best friend when it comes to homeschooling is my local library!

One thing I love so much about our library is storytime. My eldest child has been attending at one library or another since she was probably 15 months old. My youngest hasn't been quite as fortunate as the toddler storytime doesn't fit as nicely into our schedule anymore.

Storytime has provided so much to eldest. It gives her a place to meet new kids, as the group always seems to be changing. It gives me fun themes when I'm stuck on what books to select for my children (each session - fall, spring, summer - has a new theme). It give my youngest some extra one-on-one time with Mommy.

Right now we are in the midst of "Make a Splash", the library's summer storytime. I am also participating in the adult reading program entitled "Water Your Mind". My kids are having a blast with it, and my eldest has set quite the goal for herself. She wants to read 100 books this summer! Our first week's goal looked something like this:

We didn't do too bad on our first week. My eldest read all but one of the first picture, plus the toddler's books, and we are finishing up "Meet Samantha" today. Of the books we read last week, I only read 2 of them to my eldest. The rest were read independently!
Let me just say, if you have a daughter who has not been introduced to the American Girls series, make the introduction immediately! These are wonderful historical books with characters little girls can relate to. Best of all the characters themselves are 8-10 years old, so they are the age of the audience the books are geared toward! This in and of itself seems to be a rare thing in literature these days.

So, back to how awesome my library is. A regular child's policy only allows for 5 books at a time, but over the summer, each child is allowed to take up to 25 books! I love that they make this amendment to their policy to encourage summer reading, and my kids love it because frankly they are addicted to books. (Just last week, I had to force my 4-year-old to turn off her light at midnight becase she was still up reading.) Also, as an educator, I am allowed to take additional books past my usual 15 item limit for use in the classroom. I also have the option of taking a second library card for our school, although I haven't done that yet.

I could go on and on about how awesome our local libray is, but I'm afraid I would bore you all (if I haven't lost you already), so moving on. As I said in my intro, I love our library so much that we've built up quite the library at home.

All members of our family regularly ask for books as gifts, and in a family full of teachers and librarians, there is never a shortage of them. You've already seen the two bookshelves in our homeschooling room, and if you go back and re-watch that video, pay close attention to what is right next to the piano. That is only part of what my husband and I own.

A big part of my children's playroom is bookshelves. They have so many books that it seems to be the biggest hinderance to a clean playroom. Their books are so numerous, that my husband and I graciously donated our 6 ft tall bookcase to the cause. For safety reasons, it is set on it's side and houses our tall books. What you don't  see in these pictures, is the shelf full of board and cloth books, and the piles and piles of books in each child's room. Like I said, my kids are seriously addicted to reading.

So there you have it. If you are looking into homeschooling, are a veteran homeschooler, or really any parent, get to your local library! Teach your kids to love books, and sign them up for a library card as soon as you can. You will be amazed at what they can do with that little piece of plastic (or paper or number or however your library sets it up)!


  1. Hooray for the Library! My husband is a librarian so we are especially fond of them. We are participating in the summer reading program as well. We got swimming passes for next week!

  2. Oooh, fun! Our library gives out coupons to Sonic and then little prizes each week. At the end of summer, they hold a drawing for larger prizes. The kids earn entries through attendance and how much they've read from week to week.